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Don’t touch occupied village of Susiya! US warns Israel

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This is big news. The State Department is telling Israel to back off from Susiya, the village in the Hebron Hills that was targeted for demolition to make way for Jewish settlers.

From the briefing yesterday:

 QUESTION: Do you have a reaction to reports that Israel may demolish part of a village called Susiya in the West Bank for expanding settlements?

MR [JOHN] KIRBY: I do. We’re closely following developments in the village of Susiya in the West Bank, and we strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village. Demolition of this Palestinian village or of parts of it, and evictions of Palestinians from their homes would be harmful and provocative. Such actions have an impact beyond those individuals and families who are evicted. We are concerned that the demolition of this village may worsen the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution and would set a damaging standard for displacement and land confiscation, particularly given settlement-related activity in the area. We urge Israeli authorities to work with the residents of the village to finalize a plan for the village that addresses the residents’ humanitarian needs.

Great. A sign of things to come? State’s intervention follows a fantastic letter from Anna Eshoo, the Silicon Valley congresswoman, to the Secretary of State, saying clearly, Save these people. Eight congresspeople signed the letter.

Dear Secretary Kerry,

We write to you with great urgency to express our serious concern about the recent decisions made by the High Court of Israel to allow the demolition of the Palestinian village of Susiya, and deny the planning rights of Palestinian Villages in Area C of the West Bank.

The Palestinian village of Susiya, located in the Hebron Governorate in the south of the occupied West Bank, is currently home to 55 families who have been living in this location for decades and hold undisputed title to their land. Half of the homes of these families and all the community’s public structures are located in Area C where Israel maintains full control over planning and zoning.

Susiya submitted a professionally developed master plan to the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) but on October 24, 2013, the ICA rejected it. In their rejection, ICA stated the villagers would be better off living somewhere else.

With the help of the non-governmental organization Rabbis for Human Rights, the villagers petitioned the High Court of Israel to allow reconsideration of their master plan. On May 4, 2015, the High Court of Israel refused to issue a temporary injunction against demolition, paving the way for the village to be demolished before their appeal is to be heard on August 3rd.

We are especially concerned about this village because on June 9th the High Court of Israel denied the right of Palestinian villages in the West Bank’s Area C to plan their own communities, leaving all decisions on zoning and planning to the ICA, with no direct Palestinian representation when it comes to the future of their towns.

We urge you to take immediate action to prevent the demolition of the Palestinian village of Susiya and prevent the continuing demolition of Palestinian neighborhoods, farmlands, and olive orchards in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and in Israel.

We hope your intervention, amplified by the concern of citizens and countries throughout the world, will assure the safety of the Palestinian Village of Susiya.

Most gratefully,

Donna Baranski-Walker of the Rebuilding Alliance was circulating the letter. Here’s her pitch for it yesterday. Signatures closed today.

It’s working. Eight Representatives have signed-on to Representative Anna Eshoo’s letter. Senior foreign policy staff, Hannah Murphy wrote, “So far I have Representatives Eshoo, Ellison, Rush, Capps, Carson, Pingree, McDermott, McGovern, and Conyers. I will keep it open until tomorrow morning because a lot of offices are interested. Tell them 12pm – Noon.”

Please set your alarm and call your member of Congress Friday morning to urge them to sign-on to Reprentative Eshoo’s letter by noon Friday. Have them contact Hannah Murphy <[email protected]>. Let’s in the hope of stopping the demolition of the Palestinian Village of Susiya.

There is not much time. According to Rabbi Arik Ascherman, President and Senior Rabbi of Rabbis for Human Rights,

“On Sunday, July 12th, top Israeli Army brass showed up in the South Hebron Hills Village of Susiya to tell them that sometime after the Moslem holiday of Eid El Fitr ends on Sunday night and before a scheduled High Court Hearing on August 3rd, the army will demolish homes. We received the list last night, and IT INCLUDES SOME 32 STRUCTURES, HALF OF THE STRUCTURES IN SUSYA. On Sunday, the officers openly admitted that they were preempting the High Court because of settler pressure.”

Your Representative’s signature must be in by Noon Friday. Once you make your call, click Count Me In, on our Crisis Prevention Map to show how many people care about Peace and care about Susiya — it might help.


Donna Baranski-Walker
Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

Will the New York Times and the JTA call up Ascherman and Baranski-Walker and Eshoo to find out how this happened? Let’s hope.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Mondoweiss today.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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22 Responses

  1. just on July 17, 2015, 2:49 pm

    Donna Baranski-Walker of the Rebuilding Alliance has been tireless on this! An amazing effort has come to bear some fruit and hope. Thanks to Anna Eshoo and the valiant 8.

    “MR [JOHN] KIRBY: I do. We’re closely following developments in the village of Susiya in the West Bank, and we strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village. Demolition of this Palestinian village or of parts of it, and evictions of Palestinians from their homes would be harmful and provocative”

    Why is nobody mentioning that this is ILLEGAL in very many ways? Now, about those other illegal settlements, illegal ‘settlers’, illegal home demolitions and displacement of the indigenous Palestinians…

    As for “ICA stated the villagers would be better off living somewhere else.”

    What patronizing filth!

    I’m sorry I did not know about this earlier. I would have made another call today. Ah well.


    “Netanyahu and Abbas talk for first time in over a year

    Netanyahu, who phoned Abbas to wish him a happy Eid al-Fitr, said citizens of Israel want peace. Abbas reportedly called for an agreement within a year.”

    Uh- huh.

    Thanks, Phil!

    • biggerjake on July 18, 2015, 6:19 pm

      It’s time that the US started to enforce international law.

      Obama should send the marines to protect Susiya. If it was any other country flagrantly violating the civil and human rights of innocent people, the US government would be all over them: cutting off aid, sanctions, threats, sending advisors, seizing their assets, etc., etc.

      I am against US military hegemony but it would be great to see what the cowardly, gutless IDF soldiers would do if they were faced with a REAL MILITARY. All they know how to do is kill defenseless women and children…

      In fact, send the entire Pacific Fleet off the coast of Tel Aviv…..

  2. just on July 17, 2015, 3:11 pm

    O/T, but why didn’t Belgium take care of these racist hoodlums?

    “Police hold Beitar Jerusalem fans suspected of rioting in Belgium

    Sporting Charleroi beat Beitar Jerusalem 5-1 in a match that was repeatedly disrupted by Beitar fans who threw smoke bombs and injured Charleroi player.

    Six Beitar Jerusalem fans were detained at Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday after arriving on a flight from Belgium.

    The four were held for questioning over a riot during a football match in Belgium on Thursday that resulted in injury to the goalkeeper of Sporting Charleroi, the opponents of Beitar Jerusalem, and lengthy disruptions of the game.

    The office of the state prosecutor spent much of Friday looking into the legality of arresting Beitar fans suspected of being involved in the riot. According to Israeli law, suspects in crimes committed abroad can only be arrested with the approval of the attorney general.

    After a lengthy discussion, the prosecution gave the police the go-ahead to detain the suspects temporarily but not to arrest them. …

    … Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday called on the police to fight violence and racism, saying that those who rioted in Belgium would not be allowed to besmirch the country’s image.

    The European football governing association, UEFA, is said to be preparing to take disciplinary measures against Beitar due to the behavior of its fans

    The Israel Football Association, meanwhile is concerned that the behavior of the Beitar fans in Belgium will impact the ongoing FIFA investigation into whether Israel discriminates against Palestinian footballers. …”

    Another little thump. So, now this:

    “Beitar Jerusalem owner to sell club after fan hooliganism in

    Eli Tabib ‘ashamed’ of team’s supporters who threw smoke bombs, flares onto pitch at Charleroi game, injuring goalie

    … Fans from the opposite team chanted anti-Semitic slogans at the Israelis, Belgian media reported.

    Beitar lost the match, in which Charleroi goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau was hit by a hard object thrown from the crowd, which forced a delay.

    “I am ashamed … I have decided to end my involvement with Israeli soccer and am returning to the United States … I will appoint a trustee to run the club until somebody is willing to buy it,” Tabib said in a statement.

    Beitar’s fan base is a bastion of Israel’s political right wing. A group of supporters known as “La Familia” that the club has been unable to control has been openly abusive to Israel’s Arab minority. …

    … Beitar coach Slobodan Drapic said Beitar’s fans had been provoked, although he did not explain why some had come to the match with the flares and smoke bombs. It was unclear how so many devices were smuggled into the stadium.

    Beitar fans have by far the worst disciplinary record in Israel’s Premier League and over the past decade the team has faced about two dozen hearings and received various punishments, including points deductions, fines and matches without audiences.

    Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said on her Facebook page Thursday that a “small group of thugs” had defamed Israeli soccer, and called on Israeli police to cooperate with their Belgian counterparts.

    Israel Radio quoted Belgian police officials as saying that Israeli police had not adequately forewarned them of possible trouble-making.

    Beitar is due to host Charleroi in the return leg at Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium next week. Regev said security, which is always heavy at Beitar matches, would be tightened further.

    Regev said Beitar fans should be banned from attending, and told Israeli radio on Friday that she would explore the possibility.”

    It’s rich that Racist & Inciter Regev is calling out the racist Beitar fans. Wonder what “anti-Semitic slogans” were chanted, by who, and if they were held accountable…I’ve looked but cannot find a source.

    • ritzl on July 18, 2015, 10:18 am

      Lol! Immaculately conceived red heifers. If that isn’t a sign of the end times, it’s hard to imagine what might be.

    • amigo on July 18, 2015, 7:00 pm

      “According to Israeli law, suspects in crimes committed abroad can only be arrested with the approval of the attorney general. ” just

      What,s this.Israeli soccer fans have diplomatic immunity..What next, ffs.

      Screw Israeli law. Lock these hoodlums up and throw away the key. Send them back when Israel wins a world cup.

    • echinococcus on July 19, 2015, 12:13 am

      Unfortunately, it’s not only these thugs! Both France and Belgium have to contend with the presence of Zionist armed bands called Bétar, as anyone would have guessed, who are allied with the Neonazis and practice terrorism.

    • WH on July 19, 2015, 6:38 am

      It’s telling that there’s far more outrage among Israeli politicians when Beitar hooligans embarrass themeslves abroad than when they go on Arab-hating sprees at home.

  3. oldgeezer on July 17, 2015, 3:57 pm

    Well it is hardly surprising that Israel completely ignores international law when it shows such complete disrespect for it’s own legal system.

    Israel acts as a lawless nation using it as a club to beat ut’s victims while they are down.

  4. annie on July 17, 2015, 5:09 pm

    i agree, VERY BIG NEWS

  5. annie on July 17, 2015, 5:18 pm

    i urge people to call their congress rep and tweet about it. here’s mine:

    • just on July 17, 2015, 8:14 pm

      Thanks very much for the info, Pixel!

      In other big news, imho:

      “Mental health professionals demand cancellation of Israel conference

      More than 200 leading mental health professionals from around the world have signed an open letter calling for the cancellation of a European psychotherapy conference scheduled to be held in Jerusalem in August.

      In the letter, published in the UK newspaper The Independent, the psychologists and psychoanalysts, many from the UK, France and the United States, urge their colleagues to respect the Palestinian call for boycott and stay away from the conference should it go ahead as planned.

      Meanwhile, leading actors, authors, academics and architects in the UK have put their names to an open letter to David Cameron, urging the UK prime minister to push for immediate EU sanctions on Israel until it abides by international law and ends its occupation and siege of Palestinian territories.

      The two letters, with their diversity of signatures, highlight how the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) is growing in range and scale.

      Israeli propaganda

      Palestinian and Israeli psychotherapists and psychologists are among those who have signed the letter calling on the European Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapists (EABCT) to relocate or cancel its annual congress this year.

      The EABCT’s website advertises the congress as taking place in “Jerusalem, Israel,” ignoring the fact that no country, including the UK, recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the city.

      Israel conquered and ethnically cleansed the western part of the city in 1948 and occupied the eastern part in 1967. East Jerusalem is considered under international law to be part of the occupied West Bank.

      Echoing Israeli government propaganda, EABCT describes Israel as a “modern, multicultural, ‘startup nation’” and Jerusalem as “an ideal city to tour.” The congress website even hosts an Israeli government promotional video about the country titled “Small but Outstanding.”

      Israel’s occupation, systematic demolitions of Palestinian homes and other severe restrictions on Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents are not mentioned.

      And, in a nod to normalization, EABCT states on its website that its 45th congress will be “committed” to presenting psychotherapy’s “related potential to peace-making and conflict resolution.”…

      … Sanctions on Israel

      Addressing the sanctions part of the BDS call, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) coordinated a letter to the UK prime minister, calling for immediate sanctions on Israel.

      The letter was signed by authors Tariq Ali, Selma Dabbagh, Ahdaf Soueif and Benjamin Zephaniah; actors including Miriam Margolyes and Samuel West and musician Brian Eno, among others.

      More than 20,000 members of the public put their names to a petition which accompanied the letter, and which was delivered to Parliament during PSC’s national lobby of lawmakers.

      Explaining the reason for demanding sanctions, PSC Chair Hugh Lanning said: “It is clear that this Israeli government, like others before it, has no commitment to international law or any kind of ‘peace process.’ It is now imperative that our government pushes the EU to impose immediate sanctions on Israel, including a full two-way arms embargo.””

  6. Pixel on July 17, 2015, 6:26 pm

    Representative Anna Eshoo:

  7. JWalters on July 17, 2015, 7:48 pm

    Profound gratitude to these courageous members of Congress. I look forward to hearing Joe Scarborough’s ranting defense of Israel demolishing these Palestinian homes. Dennis Ross will be “concerned” about the anti-Israel precedent this Congressional action could set.

  8. chris o on July 17, 2015, 10:25 pm

    My Congresswoman. She is relatively good but I am surprised. And very impressed. Guess it’s safe to say she’s for the Iran deal.

  9. annie on July 18, 2015, 12:48 am

    join sunday’s thunderclap for #savesusiya

  10. Kay24 on July 18, 2015, 1:12 am

    This is what we should be doing folks. All we have to do is make sure Israel sticks to international laws and condemn it harshly when it becomes so openly greedy for land and shows it’s arrogance when it disregards UN laws. Surely this is not difficult?

    It would also help if we threaten to stop the aid. Those zionists cannot operate without our aid and support, so we stop it to make sure they behave like a “democratic” nation that complies with laws and acts humanely.

  11. heb on July 18, 2015, 4:34 am

    This is obviously very good news. Susiya has long been persecuted settlers and the occupying mechanism. Here is what happened in 2011 – It was not the first time. Settlers from the illegal settlement of the same name have even stolen soil from the Palestinians –

    The very nasty organisation Regavim is behind the latest campaign to wipe Susiya from the face of the earth – as reported on in Mondoweiss 3 years ago;

    Sadly it is not only the village of Susiya which is under threat – just about every other Palestinian community in the South Hebron Hills are faced with extinction. A few miles to the east is Umm al Kheir which suffers regular demolitions – the latest was last October when even the village’s only bread bread oven was razed to the ground.

    All the tiny communities in Firing Zone 918, to the south-east of Susiya, are under constant
    threat. See here –

    I could go on.

    But I just wish that western politicians etc would use the correct terms for these kind of actions conducted by Israel. War Crimes. They are War Crimes carried out by a belligerent occupier.

    By the way I have been to all these communities many times with the remarkable activists of Ta’ayush. Their website is full of information about what goes on in these places. Particularly rewarding are David Shulman’s pieces.

    • just on July 18, 2015, 9:04 am

      Thanks very much for your comment, info, and for your activism, heb.

      Yes, these are “War Crimes carried out by a belligerent occupier”. It’s what I meant when I said it was ILLEGAL @ 2:49. No pol will say it out loud~ why?

      Ta’ayush is a wonderful organization~ may it grow.

  12. amigo on July 18, 2015, 10:07 am

    “We are concerned that the demolition of this village may worsen the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution and would set a damaging standard for displacement and land confiscation, particularly given settlement-related activity in the area.”

    Dis placement and land confiscation.

    Wow, compare that to !!, “The US is deeply troubled ” or “The US is deeply disappointed”.

    There is definitely a change in the tone directed at Israel.Me thinks Obama has finally found his cajones and will no longer tolerate being kicked in the family jewels.

    Nietanyahu is on the receiving end and none too soon.Let,s see Obama deliver the sucker punch at the UN when the next vote comes up on a Palestinian State.

    Interesting times.

  13. Citizen on July 18, 2015, 5:28 pm

    Half of Susiya to be Demolished after Ramadan – International Middle East Media Center

  14. Vera Gottlieb on July 19, 2015, 12:05 pm

    And israel will listen and obey??? We will be given the israeli ‘finger’ as usual.

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